BWS Provides and Update on Current Water Shortage in Placencia
The Belize Water Services Limited (BWS) forges on with the project in Placencia, Stann Creek to improve the village’s water distribution system; however, they have met some roadblocks along the way. The project commenced about a month ago with the aim to provide a more reliable and sustainable water supply to meet the growing demands of the community. BWS says that due to the increase in tourism activity in the area, a strain has been placed on the current system. Chief Executive Officer at BWS, Alvan Haynes, explains that they have already begun implementing short-term alleviation measures to provide sufficient water supply to customers who have been affected.
Alvan Haynes, CEO, Belize Water Service Limited: “We are now catering for this in the short term by utilizing bowsers to transport water from Dangriga and from a well at Riversdale area that belongs to the Bowen and Bowen Group BAL. We’re also seeking to get access to a well that’s nearer at Riversdale that the land has private ownership and we’re negotiating a lease so that we can access the wells. Fortunately with Placencia we are able to truck water. It’s obviously farm more expensive to truck water but unlike the islands, San Pedro and Caye Caulker where it’s almost impossible to transport the quantities of water we are now able to move 45,000 gallons a day to help to boost the Placencia supply so that it is almost normal. We are reducing pressure at nights to allow our reservoirs in Placencia and Seine Bight to refill so that we can provide water during the day and the early evening peak. We can proudly say that all customers in the Placencia peninsula that are directly connected to BWS’s system are getting water for those peak times day time to early evening. As we reduce pressure at night then there may be some on the further reaches that will not get water but water should be available for all regular use day time through to early evening.”
Haynes says that they are in the preliminary stages of implementing several projects that will benefit consumers in the longer run. This project totals a whopping thirteen million Belize dollars as opposed to the seven million that was originally allocated. This increase in price is attributed to project delays which were influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise in the cost of materials. However, Chairman Cornelio Acosta, says that the company had already taken into consideration the expected increase in demand around the upcoming Easter season. He added that they have procured additional water bowsers that will provide an additional nine thousand gallons of water to the village.
Cornelio Acosta, Chairman, Belize Water Service Limited: “Because of the high demand it takes a while for us to streamline and level out to where we need to be. We have acquired an additional bowser and an additional 9,000 gallon bowser to compliment what we have which is a 6,000 gallon bowser and a 9,000 gallon bowser that the Ministry of Rural Transformation is assisting us with. So with that we believe to be sufficient when it comes to meeting the demand right now. Looking at the future now with the new transline coming into play next year that should now give us about twenty years to meet that demand.”
The BWS continues to rely on the participation of the public to ensure that water is conserved as much as possible until the situation can be fully resolved within the next year, especially during peak tourism season. Public Relations Manager, Haydon Brown, says the BWS will be meeting with the business community to engage in further discussion on how this issue can be mitigated.
Haydon Brown, Public Relations Manager, Belize Water Services Limited: “We have been addressing the concerns as they come to us on a one on one basis and so that’s pretty much where we’re at with addressing concerns where customers needs are concerned. In terms of I believe the question was asked whether or not the cooperation we’re getting from customers I believe that the hoteliers and the other business people there recognize the challenge that we’re faced with and I believe they’re cooperating some of the things they can do by themselves they’re actually working on their own using other private entities where they can get supply otherwise but I believe that conservation is something that we will see not today because it will take a little time to get a feel for that aspect but we’re putting the message out there and I think the community recognizes that it’s something that will benefit all those concerns so I believe there is definitely going to be a positive turn towards that end.”